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All Worked up with Amanda and KJ from Mented Cosmetics

All Worked up with Amanda and KJ from Mented Cosmetics

By Rebecca Allen on February 27, 2018

We're kicking off our Q&A series with Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller, the co-founders of Mented Cosmetics, a makeup line for women of color. They launched with a beautiful line of lippies for brown girls and just dropped an eye shadow palette that is available for pre-order. 

Undeterred by the lack of support women of color receive from venture dollars, KJ and Amanda set out to delight ladies who are still underserved by the beauty industry. In October of 2017, the duo secured $1M in venture capital becoming the 15th and 16th African-American women ever to do so, as reported by Forbes. You read that correctly. 

Naturally, we were dying to know more about their routines. Read on for a glimpse into how KJ and Amanda get All Worked Up.

Where do you reside and what is your favorite local spot close to home? 

I live in Harlem and this neighborhood has truly become my home. My favorite local spot is Ginny’s Supper Club. It’s a great place to unwind with a drink and some dancing on a Friday night. - AJ

I’ve been in Harlem since moving to New York in 2010 - it’s become home for me. My favorite spot, hands down, is Barawine. Best happy hour in the city! - KJ

It's breakfast time on a weekday, where are you and what are you eating?

I’m up early every morning to work out, and then I walk 20 blocks to work. Somehow in the midst of all that I usually forget to eat breakfast, but I’ve been trying to do a better job of grabbing at least a bar or something small on my way out the door. I always feel better when I eat in the morning - I’ve just got to remember to do it! - KJ

It's dinner time on a weekday, where are you and what are eating? 

If we aren’t out with investors or networking over dinner, then I’m at home. I love a good canape and open bar, but there is nothing like a home cooked meal. Once I come home from the gym around 7:30pm, I like to find new ways to cook my favorite items. A pack of taco seasonings or some fresh herbs can take a dish a long way. -AJ

Tell us about your workwear style. 

My startup work style is very different than my old corporate ways. I used to dress like others in my office; suits while in investment banking and high heels while in high fashion. Now I dress however I want. There are days when we don’t leave the office that I wear no makeup and a hoodie. There are other days when I want to put on some suede 4 inch pumps and strut around in a skirt. The luxury of a startup is choice. - AJ

One of the perks of running your own company is you get to where WHATEVER you want, all the time. In my former life as a consultant I was in business casual all the time, and I kind of hated feeling so confined. These days I’m almost always in jeans unless we’ve got an event that evening. If I want to take my look up a notch I amp up my makeup and throw on a heel once I get to the office. - KJ

Do you have a favorite workwear item that you can't live without? If so, please share!

I guess it’s gotta be my bookbag. You’ll never find me without it - I used to carry big purses all over the city and my back couldn’t take it anymore!  So now my plain-jane no-brand grey bookbag is my best friend. I might upgrade it to something a bit more fancy at some point, but I’m all about functionality since I’m lugging my laptop everywhere I go. - KJ

You're about to give a big presentation/have a big meeting, what are you wearing:

We’ve had some big investor pitches or a press appearance where we’ve really had to think about what we wear. I love a good fitted patterned dress and high heels. - AJ 

How do you prepare for said big presentation or meeting? 

If it’s a big investor meeting, the prep definitely started months ago. I don’t like walking into situations without a solid game plan. The day of a big meeting I like to check back on LinkedIn and other online sources to make sure I know as much as possible about the person I’m meeting with, and I like to cultivate one or two non-work related items I can drop into the conversation to warm up the vibe a bit.  And if it’s a REALLY big pitch, I of course have to play some Beyonce to get in the right headspace. (Who run the world? Girls.) - KJ

What constitutes a good day at work? 

A good day at work is when there is productivity and laughter. Productivity can mean we think strategically about the big stuff and are still able to check the boxes on the details. I also love the work culture we’re creating. We want everyone to bring their whole self to work and that for me involves laughter. -AJ

How do you unwind and turn work off? 

These days I’m all about self-care. I have a charcoal mask routine I do every week, and I’ve gotten really into my nightly skincare routine as well. I also try really hard to make it home for dinner every night with my husband - that’s my ultimate unwind time. If I wanted to I could work all day, so having this structured “off” time with him helps me get out of my head for a while and recharge. - KJ

What is your favorite thing to allocate time to outside of “the office?”

Outside of the office I love to explore. I could be in a museum, walking around a neighborhood, trying out different cocktails, or reading about a different time (I love historical fiction). All of these things make me a well rounded person and that helps make me better at my job. -AJ

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    Top 5 Nude Looks: Oscars 2018

    Top 5 Nude Looks: Oscars 2018

    The stars did not disappoint at this year's 90th Annual Academy Awards!  From the red carpet to the Vanity Fair after party there were so many stunning looks it was hard for us to choose our top 5 nude looks of the night. Check out our list of the best nude lips and how to get them.  

    Danai Gurira looked stunning in a sleek dress that showed off her figure. She paired her soft smokey eye with a berry lip. Wear our Berry Me lip gloss to get this look. Feeling her eyeshadow? We'll show you how to recreate her look using our Everyday Eyeshadow Palette here

    From the red carpet to the after parties Regina Hall is always slaying! Regina let her sheer dress steal the show by wearing a soft pink lip. Get her look by wearing our Mauve Over gloss. 

    Kelly Marie Tran paired her beautiful cinderella-esque dress with an updo and minimal makeup. Get her nude lip by wearing our Peach Please lipstick.

    LUPITA! What more can we say when her name is synonymous with style and grace? Her nude lip has a strong resemblance to our Dark Night lipstick. If Lupita likes it we're sure you'll love it! 

    Mary J. Blige looked elegant in all white and soft makeup. Her pink lip was a nice touch that we loved. Get her look using our Pretty in Pink lipstick.

    Want to learn how to recreate other red carpet looks using Mented? Check out our Top 5 Nude Looks: Red Carpet Glam

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    Voices: Why Compromise?

    Voices: Why Compromise?

    Rebecca Allen

    I recently launched Rebecca Allen, which is an initial offering of a timeless patent leather pump for women of color. I offer five “nude” shades. It’s foundation for your feet. I used to work in finance and this elusive nude pump, usually some beige offering, never achieved the same seamless finish on my legs. It seemed absurd to me that no one in the marketplace was speaking to non-white women and offering this wardrobe staple for our closets.

    As I’ve started getting the word out on the brand I’ve heard from so many women who have been on the hunt. One said that she had started looking into how to dye a pair of shoes to make her nude. Another woman told me that years ago she had found a pump that was “close enough,” but then had to track it down in her size across the country. It shouldn’t be this hard.

    I’m committed to telling the stories of powerhouse women of color. How we get dressed is an extension of our identities and I don’t want any woman, particularly a woman of color, to feel like she has to compromise.


    My approach to skincare is fairly simple, although I am guilty of always thinking there is something out there that will change my life that I have yet to try. I have been dealing with a serious bout of acne as of late and started using True Botanicals Clear series. It consists of their Hydrating Cleanser, a Repair Serum and their Pure Radiance Oil. For a mask I use Bentonite Clay mixed with raw apple cider vinegar. This is supposed to draw out impurities. For hydrating masks, I have a bunch of Master Lab K-Beauty sheet masks that my husband brought back from a work trip to South Korea. He’s a big fan, too. Whenever I’m looking to try something new I check out Follain.com. It’s an all-natural apothecary that curates US-based brands.


    I believe that the key to staying fresh off a flight is drinking lots of water! I also usually bring some rose water to spritz on my face as needed.


    I do not wear a ton of makeup, but I have a simple, three-minute application that I never have to think about. I use RMS Un Cover-up for under eye concealer and RMS Un Powder to set it. Then I apply By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum (smells lovely) to the high points on my face. I’m always trying to get that glow! I use Jane Iredale lash conditioner and mascara, fill in my brows a little with Ecobrow and apply a little RMS Lip2cheek for blush. If I’m heading out for a big night I may turn it up with a smokey eye, a little bronzer, and Dope Taupe or Pretty in Pink from Mented!


    I am a big exfoliator. I love the Dermalogica Ultimate Buffing Cloth because it rinses clean very easily. I also believe in a good wash cloth scrub down. I tried dry brushing, but it just isn’t as satisfying. I like to use coconut oil on my body, but in the winter I usually need something stronger because I get very dry and am prone to eczema patches.

    I only use natural deodorant, and like to switch them up. Follain.com carries a bunch and will tell you that if you are ready to make one natural switch in your beauty routine, deodorant is the most impactful place to start. I like Schmidt’s Rose & Vanilla Stick. I also use Kiss My Face, which is stocked pretty widely.


    I am Drybar enthusiast, but for washing and styling at home I have Form Beauty products. I also love the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray for dry shampoo and Byredo’s Gypsy Water Hair Perfume. I get my hair cut by Mahogany Grace at the John Barrett Salon on top of Bergdorf’s in the city. We have been together for just about 15 years. She was the one who took me from relaxer to natural in my early 20s. We just did a big chop! It was amazing. Then went back to relaxer in my late 20s and now we are growing out the relaxer again, but just trimming as it grows. No big chop chop this time.

    Rebecca is wearing our Pretty in Pink lipstick
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